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Race Ready: Rev3 at Quassy with Ashley Quinn

In preparation for our first official team race of the 2016 season, Rev3 at Quassy, we got the inside scoop from Director of Operations, Ashley Quinn.  Read on for tips and tricks sure to help you settle any pre race jitters and conquer your goals on race day.  Thanks Ashley!

Q1) Would you consider the race course a hard, moderate or easy course?

The Quassy course definitely has its challenges. Revolution3, as a whole, is very beginner friendly, we even have a “beginner’s athete meeting” after our mandatory athlete meeting on Saturday and Sunday at the expo, but all that being said, be ready to climb some hills on the bike and run course.

Q2) Could an athlete preview the swim, bike and run course before race day?

We just wrapped up two course previews which were done by Pacific Swim Bike Run. We have turn by turn directions on our website for the bike and run course if you want to give it a try or drive the course before race weekend: http://rev3tri.com/quassy/course-maps/

Q3) What attracts athletes to your race? What do you think is special about a Rev3 race?

I believe athletes like Revolution3 because of our atmosphere, we strive to give all of our athletes a great experience from registration to post race. We want our race to be a weekend your whole family can enjoy, which is another reason for people to come to Quassy, you get to race and your friends and family can ride rollercoasters while they wait for you!

Q4) For a beginner triathlete: any advice on how to prepare for your course? Transition set up? Packet pick up?

I would recommend training on some hills to be prepared for Quassy. If you have not raced Rev3 before you will notice that our transition racks are different from the typical wire racks. You will put your back tire into the bike slot and set up your supplies and equipment to the right of your bike. As for packet pick up, I would highly recommend you attend the mandatory athlete meeting, we plan our practice swim and mandatory athlete meetings so that you can arrive, grab your packet, swim, and still have time to attend the meeting, I would try as best as you can to stick to that schedule. http://rev3tri.com/quassy/schedule/

Q5) Besides the signs throughout the bike & run courses, will there be guides directing the athletes so they don’t make a wrong turn?

Yes! If you are competing in the Half you need to remember PINK and if you are competing in the Olympic remember YELLOW.  Those are your colors for race day. Your signs and tape arrows on the road will correspond with those colors. We will also make sure that we get volunteers at as many of the turns and tricky spots as possible. Please take the time to make yourself familiar with the course as we can’t always rely 100% on volunteers showing up on race morning.

Q6) What would you recommend to a beginner for finding their gear in a crowded transition area?

One of the best things I have seen is a balloon. People will attach a balloon to their race bag or something like that so their spot stands out above the crowd.

Q7) Can you give us a hint as to what an athlete can find in your Swag bags?

I would love to…my hint is BOCO 😉

Q8) To set realistic expectations: what are ball park race times for a typical beginner?

That is a great question, this is not a race where most people PR. I would say add an additional 15-20 min onto your typical time. The middle of the packers were on average 3:00 for the Olympic and 6:27 for the Half in 2015.

Q9) What if an athlete needs to use a bathroom before/during or after the race? When you gotta go you gotta go, right?

We will have a slew of porta potties in transition on race morning and Quassy Amusement Park also has some, as I like to call them, flushing bathrooms right next to transition as well. We will also have porta potties at each bike and run aid station on the course.

Q10) How far in advance should an athlete get to the event?

I would give yourself at least 1 hour to set up your transition area, go to the bathroom, put on your wetsuit. You also need to give yourself time to park so I would recommend showing up with about 1 hour and 15 min to get yourself physically and mentally prepared for race day.

Q11) Can an athlete decorate their transition area to mark their spot (i.e. balloons?)

Of course! Have fun with it 🙂

Q12) What are the considerations for a swimmer who gets in trouble during the swim portion?

We have red caps that you can receive at packet pick up, if you feel uncomfortable in the water I would highly recommend getting a red cap. Our lifeguards and swim staff have been notified to give a little extra attention to our red cap swimmers. We will also have several safety boats, kayaks, and paddleboards on the course, if you are feeling tired, swim over to one of those and take a breather for a minute.

Q13) Are there popular cheering spots that you could recommend for family/friends to stand and support at?

Right outside transition is a great spot to catch your athlete multiple times on race day. We will also have a cheering zone in the “Bermuda Triangle” at the bottom of the final uphill on the run. This will be a great spot to catch your athlete on the bike and run to give them that extra boost of moral support and confidence.  There may even be some bagpipes!

Q14) For you personally, is there a portion of the race that you like the most (directing or overseeing)?

My favorite part of every race is always the final athlete finishing and it’s not because the race is officially over but because we like to celebrate the final athlete as much as the first (or maybe even more) so it’s always a huge party and a big celebration. If you can, I would highly recommend you stick around for it, we bring everyone into the finish line and give that athlete one of the coolest finishes they will probably ever have, and it’s awesome.

Q15) Have you competed in your own race? What was your experience like?

I haven’t, I started working with Revolution3 back in 2011 when I was a volunteer coordinator and then was hired full time the following year, so I have never had the chance to race. Maybe down the road when we get a couple more staff members I will get that opportunity, but for now I am needed in the background on race day. I can guarantee you I always FEEL like I have raced by the end of the weekend.

Q16) Is there anything that you would like for us to include in the blog piece that we did not discuss?

This is all really great, thanks so much for the opportunity!  Thanks for supporting Rev3 and good luck!

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COACHES CORNER: Meet Coach Harry

ETC OWSLet’s learn a little more about….HARRY NEUHAUS.

Name, birthdate, where do you live (ie. neighborhood, borough, etc.)

I was born long time ago in Mexico City on December 22, 1960 and I currently live in the county of Kings, in Brooklyn!

Where do you work? 

When I’m not coaching or training, I am the head of Business Development and Partnerships at a startup company called the Drone Racing League.

What certifications or accreditations do you hold?

I am a certified USAT Level 1 triathlon coach and an RRCA run coach. I have also been trained in the Vdot02.

What is your coaching philosophy?

I believe that the best results will be achieved with patience, good coaching and a group of like-minded individuals to enjoy the process.

What motivates you?

My motivation is my own willingness to continue to improve, even as I get older.

When/What was your first triathlon?

My first triathlon was in 2011 in Staten Island – Flat as a Pancake

Greatest athletic achievement?

I’m most proud of two achievements: My current marathon PR in Chicago 2013 (3:21:07) and Timberman 70.3 (5:11:26).

Best piece of advice you would give to a beginner?

You are stronger, fitter and much better prepared than you think. Race hard!

What is the funniest or craziest thing that’s ever happened to you during a race?

The craziest thing that has ever happened to me is a total kit malfunction where I had to use pins to keep my shorts up, my tri top on and my race belt from falling off.

Fave food?

I love to eat but I can’t live without dessert, particularly something with chocolate.

Fave NYC spot?

Home with my compression boots on, my dog on my lap, watching a soccer match. Otherwise, I love an early morning run or ride in Prospect Park, going down the hill as the sun rises and you see the reflection on the lake.

What’s on your training playlist?

Podcasts from Nerdist, The Moth, Radiolab, Fresh Air…

What else would you like Members/clients to know about you?

Don’t underestimate the power of recovery!

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Sisters, Best Friends, Professional Triathletes, the Wassner Twins

Missed our #Empirechat with Rebeccah and Laurel Wassner? We’ve recapped our conversation here with NYC’s top Professional Triathletes! Make sure to keep an eye out for them this year racing and follow their race results here!

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Q1. As the the leading professional triathletes in NYC, how did you get involved with triathlons & begin to race competitively?

A1. I started triathlon 10 years ago when I was living in the city and working as a CPA. I needed a completive outlet since I wasn’t too into my job. I was running a lot and was competitive on the NYRR scene, but triathlon was something I always wanted to do since I grew up swimming. I joined chelsea piers and started swimming with the masters team. Some of my lanemates turned out to be triathletes and would do bike rides on the weekends, so I bought a bike and started joining them. –Bec

A1. I started swimming competitively at age 5 and played a lot of sports where we were the smallest but fa

Q2. How have you evolved as athletes?

A2. I’ve matured as an athlete, but I think fundamentally, I’ve remained the same person – very driven, a hard worker and I’ve been called a “fierce competitor” since my days of high school track. But over the course of the years, I’ve become more focused and have had to deal with injuries and setbacks, which has made me an even stronger person. –Bec

A2 dealing w mechanical issues on my bike that cost me races,overcoming that by educating myself & better prep –Laurel

Q3. What hurdles have you overcome mentally, physically or emotionally throughout your careers?

A3: My first hurdle was getting a pelvic stress fracture my second year as a pro. Just was a I was hitting my stride, I got knocked out for a YEAR. Having a baby was, and continues to be, a hurdle, but a very rewarding one! –Bec

Q4: Laurel as a survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma & 1st cancer survivor to become a pro triathlete how has this changed you?

A4: Made me stronger but more rewarding to be a motivator/influencer for others dealing w similar issues. it has provided me w a big stage & a way to inspire by just doing the things I love to do. As a survivor theres an inherent sense to help others doing wt u had to do or not able to do wt u can do–Laurel

Q5: Rebeccah, 3X winner of the NYC Triathlon multiple course record holder, you recently welcomed a new baby girl to the world! How have your goals changed, have sights been set higher/made you even more competitive & determined?

A5: Taking over a year off gave me plenty of time to get my competitive juices recharged and ready to go. My body went through a complete change and I’m just excited to see what I can do now that I’m almost back to how I was.

>>>How soon after you had your baby did you compete in your first race?

I did the Prospect Park duathlon when Amy was about 4 months. I wouldn’t call it competing though!
Q6. Tell us about your relationship as twins & competitors, how have you helped push each other to extraordinary feats?

We have been competitive with each other our entire lives! Our ability levels are very similar so we can push each other in training. Having a built in training partner is a huge benefit. We can be the biggest rivals during workouts and then friends again 5 minutes after we finish. –Bec

we are sister first/competitors 2nd. That said, we are still dying to beat one another! also we are lucky to have someone on our side when we jump into something like the Panama Canal or Hudson River!–Laurel

Q7: Living in NYC we want to know where you do most of your training!?

I swim at the new Asphalt Green in Battery Park. The masters swim team is great. All ability levels are welcome, from first timers to Olympians. I also do a lot of strength training Fusion PT NYC with Carolyn Mazur. They have an Alter-G treadmill so I run there frequently. A lot of my training happens in my apartment. My bike trainer is set up in my bedroom! –Bec

Chelsea Piers, NYACTri, Fusion PT, Central Park, 9w, west side highway –Laurel

Q7a: How much training do you do per week and what’s your favorite workout?

About 20-25hrs a week of training. Fav workout: ranger station hill repeats/ long bridal path intervals –Laurel

Any last minute tips for our triathletes and endurance athletes this season?!

A: Be consistent with your training! This snowy winter is going to make you tougher this season.–Bec

keep working hard indoors- it will make you so strong when the season comes along! –Laurel

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Bobby Going Leong and Taking on the Florida Double Anvil

On February 28th, Empire Triathlon Club Member and Ultra athlete, Bobby Leong competed in the Florida Double Anvil Triathlon – a 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and 52.4 mile run. Twice the distance of an Ironman!  The best part? He trained over 2,000 miles using Charity Miles, raising money & awareness for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. We had the opportunity to chat with him about his experience and what racing for 33:13:42 meant to him!

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ETC: What is your athletic background?

I’ve been involved in triathlon since 1995 and been associated with Empire Triathlon Club since it’s inception in 2011.

ETC: What do you do for a living?

I am a document processing manager at Allen & Overy, LLP – a law firm in midtown Manhattan.

ETC: What / when was your first tri?

My first triathlon was the Montauk Lighthouse Sprint Triathlon in July 1995. It was a total disaster. I didn’t even know how to swim so I bought a wetsuit because I didn’t want to drown. Despite finishing DFL in the swim, I caught up to others on the bike and run. I loved the experience so much, I decided to stick with it. It did, however point to the importance of training with other triathletes in a friendly, supportive club atmosphere. I’m sure if I had, my first experience would have been better… But hey, you never forget your first time 😉

ETC: What prompted you to sign up for the Florida Double Anvil (2x the distance of an Ironman)?

I had entered the Feb 2011 Sebring 12/24 hour bike race and finished 202 miles in about 14.5 hours. After the race I did a little job back to the car and was amazed at how fresh my legs felt. My friend Carl Morrishow then mentioned that there were ultra triathlon races that were 2, 3, 5, 10 and 20x the distance of an Ironman.
I decided to research these races and I came across http://usaultratri.com found the Florida Double Anvil 281.2 Triathlon held in late February.

I participated in a series of long events/races to see if this was really feasible. First, The Little Red Lighthouse 10k swim in Sep 2011, then an 365 mile non-stop East-West NY State Ultracycling Marathon record attempt that same month and finally the NYRR Knickerbocker 60k run….only then did I sign up for my first Double Anvil attempt in May 2012.

ETC: How did you train for this race?

Well I learned a lot from my DNFs from the 2012 and 2013 attempts at this race. The importance taking care of chafing early; finding, training with and sticking to a nutrition plan; overnight rides and bricks; never neglecting zone 3-4 work; and of course always including many LSD (long slow distance) 5,000-6000m swims, 8-11 hour rides, 3-6 hour runs.

ETC: What was the toughest part of the race for you?

I’d have to say on the bike after the sun goes down. The bike course is a 6.88 mile loop and many times you feel like your all alone with me, myself and I. You don’t see a soul out there It gets cold (and it got down to 41 degrees these last two races), boredom sets in, and voices in your head invite you to the Dark Side.

ETC: Was there ever a point where you thought you might quit or didn’t think you could finish?

This year? Nope. The Spartan women used to say to their men, “Ḕ tā̀n ḕ epì tâs”. Literal translation? “Either [with] it [your shield], or on it”: Meaning “either you will win the battle, or you come home dead carried on it”

ETC: What were your goals going into the race?  What did this race mean to you or signify?

My objective going into this race was to complete the 281.2 triathlon. After my knee injury two weeks before the race, I had to modify that to completing the 4.8 mile swim, 224 mile bike and at least 26.2 of the 54.2 miles of the run in 36 hours. I knew I had to walk the entire run course, so unless I was off the bike by 1-2am (a stretch for me), I’d have to settle for an “Anvil+” finisher status.

The accomplish any large goal like this, it is important to give it meaning. It is really what sustains you through when fatigue and adversity gets in your head. I found that meaning by applying my training and event mileage to raise money for The Michael J. Fox Foundation through  Charity Miles in honor of his two closest friends’ parents who have Parkinson’s disease. And with the support of New York City’s Empire Triathlon Club, I’ve been able to cycle, run and walk over 2,000 Charity Miles during his training leading up to this event!
It was with great humility and purpose that I dedicated this effort to my extended families, the Walsh and Hill clans, and their hopes and those of many others, that one day we’ll find a cure to Parkinson’s. It was a small token of my support for them.

ETC: How many athletes participated / finished?

24 males and 5 females started this race. 17 of them completed the entire 281.2 miles, 5 (including yours truly) finished more than 255 miles, earning an Anvil+ designation, and 7 were DNFs. http://usaultratri.com/Results/Rus010.htm

ETC: Tell us a little about your support crew?  Who was there? How did they help you through the race?

A good support crew can make or break a race/event. My wife Susan, our good friends Erica Aldin and Kathy Kounnas (a Tampa area resident) were on my support crew. They made sure that stuck to my nutrition plan, prepared all drinks, had all equipment and supplies at the ready. Most importantly they were my source of encouragement and the occasional swift kick up my backside!

ETC: Racing for 33:13:42, did you sleep at all during the race?

I did! I had one hour of sleep and did it right in T2, therefore having the ignominious honor of owning the longest T2 time, 1:18:40, during the race 🙂

ETC: Do you think you’ll sign up for another?

As a solo? Probably not for a few years. As a part of a team? Sure! I think Empire Tri Club should field an all male and all female team or 1 co-ed team. Who’s in?!!!!

ETC: What’s your next athletic challenge?

Pine Creek Challenge 100 mile ultra run in the beginning of September. Anyone want to join me?

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Athleta Iron Girl Sandy Hook, NJ Race Recap, 9.8.2013 with Karen A. Brown

Karen A. Brown decided to join the triathlon world this year by registering for the Athleta Iron Girl race this fall.  Empire had the privilege to guide and coach Karen on her journey to success as a member of our Beginner Program over the summer.  Karen’s competitive spirit and drive lead her to a great race in her triathlon career in addition to her already successful professional career in wedding and event planning!  For more information on her company visit her website at http://www.karenbrownny.com/.

Was this your first tri? What was your athletic background going into this race?

The Athleta Iron Girl was my first triathlon, which is a sprint distance race and took place on September 8. I’m not a natural athlete by any means. I grew up dancing with ballet being my main discipline. However, a few years ago I got into cycling and have done several long distance rides, including centuries, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined doing a triathlon!

What were your thoughts going into the race? Were you nervous? Excited? Did you feel prepared?

I was excited going into the race and believe it or not I didn’t feel very nervous, not even with the swim. I had several people tell me to trust my training and that’s exactly what I did. With my background in dance I have been accustomed to training for performances, visualizing and going over each move in my head, allowing my body to flow in the rhythm. I used those same techniques to prepare for race day.

What was your favorite part of the tri?

The bike was my favorite leg of the race because it’s my strongest discipline, but ultimately my favorite part was the sense of accomplishment and the support from friends and family that surrounded the race.

What was your least favorite part / what did you learn from this race that you’ll do differently next time?

My least favorite part was the swim. We were up against 25+/- mph wind gusts the day of the race, which made the swim challenging with the strong current. When my wave started preparing for the swim I noticed that a large portion of the group positioned themselves a far distance from the starting buoy. At the time I didn’t understand why but I soon realized they were anticipating that the strong current would force them out past the buoys, knocking them off course. That’s inevitably what happened to me and I lost a crucial amount of time trying to get back on course before I could continue advancing forward. In hindsight I should have asked why they were starting so far away from the first buoy so I could have been more prepared myself.

How do you think your training helped you throughout the race?  (mentally? physically? race tactics? nutrition?)

For me, training was an essential part of being prepared for the race. I toyed around with the idea of doing a triathlon but never really thought it was something I could do. It was the thought of not being a natural athlete that was haunting me. The minute I decided to take on the challenge I knew I had to figure out a training plan. In February I joined 24 Hour Fitness and began taking Justin Sanchez’s endorphin pumping RPM (spin) class and met an amazing group of friends (aka, FitCats) who continue to inspire me with their fitness goals. At the end of April I began running in Central Park on Saturday’s with my friend Gina, and mid-May I signed up for group swim lessons at the McBurney YMCA. By the end of June I decided if I was serious about doing a triathlon I should join a club that is dedicated to training for such events and after being referred by SBR and hearing wonderful things about the coaches at Empire Triathlon Club I decided to join.

I was in the beginner’s program and really got a lot out of the group trainings and clinics. The coaches were very encouraging and took time to break down each workout, explaining what we would be doing and how we should pace (or push) ourselves. The open water clinics that we did at Coney Island were also extremely beneficial. The coaches had us do several drills that prepared us both physically and mentally for race day, such as having us swim in close proximity to one another so we would know the feeling of being hit in the face or our feet touched by someone else’s stroke. They also gave us great advice on race tactics, such as drafting, knowing our ‘go to’ stroke when we get tired or panicked, and to just keep moving forward even if we have to tread water or back stroke the entire time.

Any advice you’d like to share with someone doing their first tri?

The advice I would share with someone doing their first tri is to have a good training program. Some people might like to train alone but for me I find that it’s beneficial to do it with a group so you have accountability and support from others.

I would also recommend that if swimming is new to you, or not your strong point, to start training as early and as often as you can. Join a swim class or sign up for private lessons. City pools are also a tremendous resource because they’re free and you can sign up for lap hours during the summer. The Mr. Smooth animation on SwimSmooth.com is another great tool for learning and visualizing the perfect freestyle stroke. I’m a huge proponent for incorporating visualization into training, so much so that I made a triathlon ‘vision board’ that listed my times for each leg of the race. I continued to adjust my time on the board throughout my training as I got stronger and faster, and my race time was just one minute over of my goal.

Vision Board Time = 1:27:58  |  Actual Race Time = 1:28:55

If we weren’t up against the strong winds, I think I may have actually beat my goal. Either that or I need to spend less time during transition!

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Determining your heart rate (HR) zones for the bike or run

There are many ways to determine your heart rate zones. HR zones are important tool for gauging effort and incorporating this key indicator into any good training plan or workout.  Many Empire Triathlon workouts will reference these HR zones – so it’s important to know your zones!

The common and least effective is 220-age formula (with differences in the formula if you’re a female).  A more accurate way of calculating your HR zones is located in an article here.  I like Joel Friel’s method because it is simple to use and doesn’t require any special testing equipment. Once you calculate these zones, you can set your heart rate monitor to targets to see if you’re meeting your training requirements.  If you have a mid-high end heart rate monitor, it’ll be able to tell you the amount of time that you spent in any particular zone during the training session, and the minimum/average/highest HR achieved.

When conducting this test, either indoors or outdoors, it is very important to test under the same conditions.  For this reason, I like to do the run portion on a treadmill or a track (with a GPS watch) and the bike portion on a Computrainer – on any indoor trainer/bike. Make sure if you’re bike outdoors that you 1) have a bike computer and that you 2) choose a consistent route and this relatively flat.

Be sure to test every fourth week if you are following a training plan. That “recovery week” should also include consistent benchmark tests so see if your training plan is effective or not.

Be great!

Bob Leong, Empire Triathlon Club Ambassador